Jason W. Klimek, Esq.

Jason W. Klimek - Attorney at Law

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Google Wallet Complaint Submitted to the FCC

Posted by Jason Klimek on October 29, 2012 at 9:20 AM

My complaint regarding Google Wallet and Verizon's alleged violation of 46 C.F.R. 27.16 should now be in the hands of the FCC (assuming the hurricane doesn't affect the post office service).  Now we will wait and see the response.

If you would like to read the submitted copy download it from here.

Categories: Mobile Technology

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21 Comments

Reply Fish1552
12:52 AM on November 2, 2012 
Thank you for filing this. I'm tired of "Big Dread" forcing us as users to use what THEY want to limit us to, and to force us to use a less secure option for mobile payments. Especially when a superior technology exists.

Verizon totally screwed the Nexus program concept.
Reply Super Sam Galaxy
1:01 AM on November 3, 2012 
Fantastic. I am glad to see that the process is moving forward. Now I suppose it is a waiting game to see how things turn out. If the claim is successful I believe a whole lot of people will be extremely grateful. Thanks for all your hard work.
Reply Jason Klimek
10:47 AM on November 5, 2012 
Thanks for the support. Haven't heard back yet, though I'm not surprised. Not only does it have to go through the FCC bureaucracy but also has to be sent to VZW and there's that whole pesky hurricane that we just dealt with. Thankfully I didn't wait until last week to send it out. I don't think my mail man was braving 90 mph winds to deliver the mail.

As soon as I hear a response, I will post something. I guarantee VZW's response will be a canned statement (probably the same one I got from emailing them) and the FCC will take its time, either building a case or ignoring it. If they ignored it though I think that'd be a terrible plan and I'd continue to pursue it.

Again, thanks for the support and I'll keep everyone updated.
Reply Super Sam Galaxy
1:04 PM on December 7, 2012 
Hey there, I have not heard anything in a while and thought I would just check in. Any updates? Have you had any further correspondence with Verizon, Google, or the FCC? I imagine these things take a while, just wanted to see if there was any new info.
Reply Jason Klimek
1:29 PM on December 7, 2012 
Super Sam Galaxy says...
Hey there, I have not heard anything in a while and thought I would just check in. Any updates? Have you had any further correspondence with Verizon, Google, or the FCC? I imagine these things take a while, just wanted to see if there was any new info.


I haven't heard anything. I'm not sure if perhaps my mailing got lost because of Hurricane Sandy or it's being intentionally ignored. I think I may fax it in and send it in a email to the chairman and the commissioners. Unfortunately I've been busy applying for LLM programs in tax law so all my activist efforts have taken a backseat until probably January. But, hopefully I get into Harvard, NYU, Columbia, Cornell or Boston University and can use connections there to really try to make an impact in politics.
Reply Super Sam Galaxy
3:12 PM on December 15, 2012 
Jason Klimek says...
I haven't heard anything. I'm not sure if perhaps my mailing got lost because of Hurricane Sandy or it's being intentionally ignored. I think I may fax it in and send it in a email to the chairman and the commissioners. Unfortunately I've been busy applying for LLM programs in tax law so all my activist efforts have taken a backseat until probably January. But, hopefully I get into Harvard, NYU, Columbia, Cornell or Boston University and can use connections there to really try to make an impact in politics.


In case it did get lost and you have to resend it, here is some information you may or may not be aware of that may be helpful in building a stronger case. This is a link to a response from Verizon to a similar complaint regarding Wallet. I don't know if you have any connection with this, but if you don't, perhaps seeing it will give you an idea of their position and give you some ammo. It is essentially the same thing they have been saying, but I will post it just in case there is something there that is significant.

The link is:
http://phandroid.com/2012/12/10/verizon-google-wallet-isis/

Good luck getting in to one of those great schools!
Reply ambrous
1:49 PM on December 19, 2012 
I just spotted this article today. It appears that ISIS Wallet also uses the "secure element", but that is OK with Verizon. I don't know if it has any bearing on the app blocking case, but it sure shoots down Verizon's excuse for blocking Google Wallet.

http://www.droid-life.com/2012/12/19/verizon-is-ok-with-isis-mobi
le-wallet-accessing-the-secure-element-on-your-phone-just-not-goo
gle-wallet/
Reply Super Sam Galaxy
9:16 AM on December 20, 2012 
Just to provide a bit of perspective that may help see things from the other side, and thus prepare stronger counterpoints:

I can see the validity in what Verzion is saying, although it seems they are doing a horrible job in explaining it to the public.

I believe the point they are trying to make is that it is actually because of ISIS that other apps should not have access to this area of the device. Because ISIS is storing highly sensitive information on this chip, giving other programs access to the information ISIS is storing would pose a security risk. I think there is some merit to this argument.

However, there are two very large flaws with this line of thinking. One is that it would seem that as the maker of the operating system the device is running on, Google would not be considered a third party and thus would be trusted to not release an app that would exploit this information. However Verizon's argument would surely be that in order to apply fair and consistent policy, they could not allow Google to access it while other companies cannot.

The other major, and in my opinion more significant flaw is that this is predicated upon the idea that ISIS will be used on the device in the first place. Obviously in this scenario, if ISIS is not on the device in the first place, the presence of Google Wallet poses no risk. If the argument is that any app that accesses this area of the device should have exclusivity on the device, that does not justify Verizon's decision to dictate which app that should be. There are many ways around that.

One would be to put a waiver in their contract releasing them from liability in the event that a customer has multiple "privileged" apps running on the same device, similar to their policy regarding not validating warranties of devices that have been rooted.

Another option would be to put a disclaimer when attempting to download or install a "privileged" app, either on the permissions screen or otherwise.

And finally, if they felt neither of the options above were enough, they could put a limitation on the device that would not allow it to have more than one "privileged" app installed on it simultaneously, and if an attempt were made to install one while another one was present, it would not be allowed, and would offer an explanation as to why.

I am sure these proposed solutions are nothing Verizon could not have arrived at within an hour of brainstorming, however they feel it gives them an excuse to block an app that would otherwise render their investment useless. I hope this helps shed light on what their possible arguments may be, and as a result will help more efficiently help you expose their manipulative and monopolistic practices.
Reply Jason Klimek
9:41 AM on December 20, 2012 
Super Sam Galaxy says...
Just to provide a bit of perspective that may help see things from the other side, and thus prepare stronger counterpoints:

I can see the validity in what Verzion is saying, although it seems they are doing a horrible job in explaining it to the public.

I believe the point they are trying to make is that it is actually because of ISIS that other apps should not have access to this area of the device. Because ISIS is storing highly sensitive information on this chip, giving other programs access to the information ISIS is storing would pose a security risk. I think there is some merit to this argument.

However, there are two very large flaws with this line of thinking. One is that it would seem that as the maker of the operating system the device is running on, Google would not be considered a third party and thus would be trusted to not release an app that would exploit this information. However Verizon's argument would surely be that in order to apply fair and consistent policy, they could not allow Google to access it while other companies cannot.

The other major, and in my opinion more significant flaw is that this is predicated upon the idea that ISIS will be used on the device in the first place. Obviously in this scenario, if ISIS is not on the device in the first place, the presence of Google Wallet poses no risk. If the argument is that any app that accesses this area of the device should have exclusivity on the device, that does not justify Verizon's decision to dictate which app that should be. There are many ways around that.

One would be to put a waiver in their contract releasing them from liability in the event that a customer has multiple "privileged" apps running on the same device, similar to their policy regarding not validating warranties of devices that have been rooted.

Another option would be to put a disclaimer when attempting to download or install a "privileged" app, either on the permissions screen or otherwise.

And finally, if they felt neither of the options above were enough, they could put a limitation on the device that would not allow it to have more than one "privileged" app installed on it simultaneously, and if an attempt were made to install one while another one was present, it would not be allowed, and would offer an explanation as to why.

I am sure these proposed solutions are nothing Verizon could not have arrived at within an hour of brainstorming, however they feel it gives them an excuse to block an app that would otherwise render their investment useless. I hope this helps shed light on what their possible arguments may be, and as a result will help more efficiently help you expose their manipulative and monopolistic practices.


VZW's argument was they didn't like the use of the secure element and that ISIS would use a different security feature because the secure element was proprietary and the didn't know how it would affect their network. They're using it, they lied. Pretty cut and dry. I will amend my complaint accordingly.
Reply Super Sam Galaxy
9:46 AM on December 20, 2012 
Jason Klimek says...
VZW's argument was they didn't like the use of the secure element and that ISIS would use a different security feature because the secure element was proprietary and the didn't know how it would affect their network. They're using it, they lied. Pretty cut and dry. I will amend my complaint accordingly.


Edit: Sorry, did not read your reply thoroughly the first time. But yes, they did lie, and I hope that gives you great ammo!
Reply Jason Klimek
9:54 AM on December 20, 2012 
Super Sam Galaxy says...
It does not surprise me that they said that, but check out the link from @ambrous. It is a screenshot of ISIS in action, and it specifically explains that ISIS DOES in fact use the secure element. I think that is the issue a lot of folks are upset about right now. It's a great article. It kind of shows that they are contradicting themselves like crazy.

"Verizon does not block apps."
"Here is why we blocked the app."

lol


Yeah that's my point. VZW complained about Google's use of the secure element and that they were trying to deal with technical issues or something (I quoted it in my complaint). Now they're saying ISIS can use it? That is blatant violation of C Block. Moreover, they lied as to their reasoning and probably violated some anti-competitive practices laws. It's all very suspect at the least, but the FCC should actually pay attention. I think I'm just going to spam them until I get a response.
Reply Super Sam Galaxy
9:59 AM on December 20, 2012 
Jason Klimek says...
Yeah that's my point. VZW complained about Google's use of the secure element and that they were trying to deal with technical issues or something (I quoted it in my complaint). Now they're saying ISIS can use it? That is blatant violation of C Block. Moreover, they lied as to their reasoning and probably violated some anti-competitive practices laws. It's all very suspect at the least, but the FCC should actually pay attention. I think I'm just going to spam them until I get a response.


I would be happy to help spam them! (Only with whatever you ask me to of course, I don't want to accidentally send in anything that would contradict one of your points, but I can just be a second source to feed your complaints through to to help get their attention faster).

I have no idea if that would have the slightest impact, since I have no legal background whatsoever. But they say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so if I can help "make the wheel squeakier" let me know!
Reply Jason Klimek
10:16 AM on December 20, 2012 
Super Sam Galaxy says...
I would be happy to help spam them! (Only with whatever you ask me to of course, I don't want to accidentally send in anything that would contradict one of your points, but I can just be a second source to feed your complaints through to to help get their attention faster).

I have no idea if that would have the slightest impact, since I have no legal background whatsoever. But they say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so if I can help "make the wheel squeakier" let me know!



When I amend the complaint I'll include all the FCC people to send it to then you (and whomever else wants to) can email the complaint to all of them.
Reply ambrous
7:20 PM on January 9, 2013 
What is the assumed timeline for an FCC response? Thank you for your efforts.
Reply Jason Klimek
9:45 PM on January 9, 2013 
Usually the turn around time is faster than this. I think the FCC is either ignoring it or incompetent, take your pick. When I get some free time I'm going to update the complaint and resubmit it directly to the commissioners.
Reply ambrous
10:22 AM on January 26, 2013 
It seems that the FCC response time is comparable to the Verizon customer support response time.
Reply Jason Klimek
11:23 AM on January 26, 2013 
ambrous says...
It seems that the FCC response time is comparable to the Verizon customer support response time.


Glaciers move faster than the FCC. Perhaps it will take a little prodding from the Senate to get the FCC to move. I still think the FTC should be involved as well since this smacks of anti-competitive practices. However, there is no way I'm undertaking an FTC complaint by myself. Ah government... if only it wasn't filled with people scared by progress.
Reply ambrous
3:02 PM on February 26, 2013 
Another month... Just checking in. No response from the FCC re:google wallet, I suppose.
Reply Jason Klimek
3:11 PM on February 26, 2013 
ambrous says...
Another month... Just checking in. No response from the FCC re:google wallet, I suppose.


Negative. They clearly feel no need to act on the situation. I'd enlist the help of my Senator again, but with the sequestration stuff going on, I fear I wouldn't get a different response from her office, than with the FCC.

It just goes to show, it's not who's right or who's wrong, it's merely a function of who has the most money to throw at a given issue. As my contract with VZW nears it's end (a few months I believe) I contemplate leaving them for Straight Talk and grabbing a Nexus 4 (or maybe 5 by the time I pull the trigger). I do want to see what's up with the Motorola X phone, seems to be rather intriguing and top of the line specs. If it's release coincides with my contract being up, goodbye VZW and $160/month, hello unlimited everything, no restrictions and $45/month (well to be fair it'd be $90 because I have a family member on my VZW plan), but I digress...

I've filed a complaint, several other organizations and law professionals have filed a complaint, the FCC has more than enough evidence. They're clearly not inclined to act on this. Actually, I think the FTC might actually be the best route because it has direct anti-competitive practices written all over it.
Reply ambrous
8:25 PM on February 26, 2013 
Might I use your complaint and or wording from your blog when contacting my senator?